Random posts on random subjects in my random world

Posts tagged ‘Communications’

One thing is certain when it comes to working in the Mediterranean and I don’t mean the great weather, food and drink. What has been clear since my arrival has been the unrivaled welcome from everyone everywhere to feel right at home and among friends. None more so than a recent visit to the Greek capital Athens.


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Well, it was hard not to use a headline like that having spent today in this beautiful Tuscan city. The machine in this case is Ericsson and four of the major telecom operators who have partnered with the public transportation company ATAF to bring mobile ticketing to passengers. Continue reading…


It’s a lifetime for some, but for many 1985 was not that long ago. I can remember, just about, being at school learning on the first serious computers we had – the BBC Micro! Oh the fun we had in those days of writing a short piece of code that scrolled words on a screen over and over again…. 10 PRINT “HELLO”, 20 GOTO 10. How times have changed.

But did you know that on New Years Day in 1985, the first ever mobile phone call was made from just down the road in Newbury, Berkshire? Michael Harrison phoned his father, a certain Sir Ernest Harrison, to wish him well in the New Year. Sir Ernest was Chairman of Racal Electronics and a company who I joined just two years later from school and spent 10 years working for. Within hours of that call, the Vodafone network went live to the nation – well only London and the Thames Valley initially.

The Guardian ran a feature article last week citing the Racal/Vodafone story and how the mobile phone has transformed the way we communicate. It’s a great read and one that really hits home at just how big the communications industry has become – and of course my employer Ericsson are in there. In fact our very own John Cunliffe, Chief Technology Officer, is quoted on where the next wave of growth is likely to come from.

Here’s a selection of other memories from 1985: Ronald Regan is sworn in as US President for a second term; We Are the World charity single is recorded; Mohammed Al Fayed buys Harrods; Norwich City win the League Cup at Wembley; Back to the Future premieres in cinemas and Lewis Hamilton was born!

Do you have any memories of 1985? How will we be communicating with each other 25 years from now?

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Well connected in RomeOnce a year we get an opportunity to meet with our colleagues in a global gathering of marketeers and communicators (not quite sure what the correct word for us would be!). The venue was Rome with representation from the Ericsson Market Units, Business Units, Product Areas and Group Function getting together for a packed two-day agenda including our strategy, roadmap, brand, best practices, customer insights, social media plus of course the annual awards ceremony for which we were nominated in two categories. I’ll post more about some of that content in due course, but let’s jump straight to the awards night.

After a bus trip from the hotel, via a Michelangelo exhibition at the Capitoline Museum, we arrived at the Joia Music Restaurant for pasta, live music and the odd bottle of Peroni of course! The area was very relaxed and lots of discussion over the first day of our meeting, the highlight for most was the inspiring talk from Giovanni – Head of Marketing & Communications at Italian motor giant Fiat. He was also a man after my own heart when it comes to PowerPoint quoting “Anyone who presents with 100 or more slides has nothing to tell!”

One of the first celebrations of the evening came when a good friend of mine from Ericsson France took the Media Relation award for the great work they are doing in social media with a blogFacebook and Twitter among the ways they reach and communicate externally. Bien fait! She tried to call the office to let them know of the success only to find out that they were at the Stade de Françe for the World Cup match against Ireland. Needless to say that later in the evening it became apparent that the French and Irish would not be seeing eye to eye, or rather hand to ball!

Then came the award for Best Customer Business Development and one which saw us up against some of the perennial powerhouses such as North America and Business Unit Networks in this area. With India & Sri Lanka thrown in there too for good measure it was a tough one to call. Over to the judges. “…and the winner for 2009 is Market Unit North Western Europe.” Wow, what a great and unexpected result 🙂 This was great recognition on what the team have delivered in demonstrating to customers the business potential of the connected home and how it provides them a platform from which they can differentiate themselves in the competitive arena.

Onto the final award we were nominated in – Best Strategy Communication. The heavyweights Market Units of Australia & New Zealand, South East Europe, Greater China and India & Sri Lanka were all there with us and each had a powerful case for the crown of 2009. The friendly rivalry with the Aussies had continued all evening as we baited and joked with each other on the outcome. This time though it was hats off to the team from down under as they scooped the award with a great program designed to address the gaps in leadership communication skills through storytelling. Well done guys – we’ll see you again next year!

It’s cliché but we’re all winners. The level of submission is getting higher and higher each year in these awards and we all take ideas from each other to drive our strategy through the organisation using a variety of communication tools and techniques. The connected home vision won us praise in some circles, the connected employee could well be the answer for internal communications in 2010. Ciao!

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I’m very pleased to be in position I am – involved in some great projects, working with a superb team, able to shape the way we communicate as an organisation and engage with colleagues/friends from around the world using the latest technology and of course delving the odd finger into social media. Working for a global organisation like Ericsson I like to think that I’ve prodded the boundaries of what can be done on a small budget as well as an equally small internal communications team.

What had me thinking was a piece on Twitter in the company magazine which reported our friends and colleagues in South East Europe to be the first to jump on the Twitter bandwagon way back in April this year. Aside from the fact that the very first ‘tweet’ from us (as Captain Cosmic) at the time was actually July 20th 2008, a good nine months before the guys in Italy, it got me thinking about some of the firsts that our local organisation can claim.
#1 Blog: Portsmouth 2006 and the Volvo Ocean Race? We were pretty much the first stopover at the time to launch a blog throughout the event. So successful it was that the global team launched a blog for the final leg of the race into Gothenburg. We’ve also recently given our bloggers front page space on the intranet to encourage more to get involved.
#1 TV: Spotlight TV News was seen as a natural step to building on the internal TV network we have across all locations in the UK and Ireland. The first news show, produced entirely in-house, aired on 24th September 2008. Closely following were variations of this from other parts of the business. We’ve now produced 34 programmes over the last 12 months.
#1 Calendar: Dubbed ‘the wheel’, a great interactive events calendar the like of which has never been seen before at Ericsson! Forget spreadsheets or slides, instead spin your mouse around the wheel, choose a month and get a view of what’s happening – even download events straight to your Outlook calendar.
#1 Community: Almost two years ago we launched an online collaborative community area with discussion forums to encourage knowledge sharing as well as social interaction through a members only area.
#1 Podcast: Another new form of communicating for us was first tested back in January 2008 when our MD spoke about strategy planning. Probably not first on this if I’m honest as I remember audio files being published from other parts of the business prior to this!
Where do we go from here and how do we continue to stay at the forefront of internal communication? Well next month we’ll be asking employees for their opinions and thoughts on all aspects of internal communications through a brief survey, the results of which will go some way to help shape our plans for the future. Cheers!
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